What Are Employers Looking For?

Resume writing can seem overwhelming if you are unsure of what employers are looking for. The “Right Your Resume” workshop at RochesterWorks! makes resume writing simple. This workshop takes the fear out of writing your resume and offers practical guidelines that can help you get an interview. Ask yourself this important question when looking at your resume “does this resume represent what skills and experience I have that will fit the needs of the company as defined by the job posting”? Employers are going to have four questions when looking at your resume:  Why am I reading this?  What skills and experience does this person have that relate to the position?  Where did they use these skills and get results?  What does this person offer that is more than other qualified candidates? The following information from the “Right Your Resume” workshop teaches you about the different types of resumes, what goes into a resume, how to communicate this information clearly, how to demonstrate your qualifications, and how to sell your skills by following our simple steps.


Types of Resumes

The Chronological Resume

  • What is it? A chronological resume is preferred by employers because it demonstrates what you have done and where you did it.
  • Who would use it? People would use a chronological resume if they have a steady work history, have worked for one company or a specific industry for a long period of time, and are continuing in that profession.

The Combo-Functional Resume

  • What is it? The combo-functional resume organizes experiences into skill clusters; emphasizing accomplishments regardless of when they happened or at what job.
  • Who would use it? Combo-functional resumes are ideal for people changing careers, people with gaps in their employment history, recent college graduates, or anyone whose recent work history does not align with their objective.


Components of a Resume

  • Contact Information- At the top of your resume include your name, address, phone number, email address, and LinkedIn web address if you have one.
  • Summary of Qualifications- This is your critical selling piece. Tailor your summary for each job objective you have, include your job title, objective with clear goal and responsibilities, your most valuable traits, experience, strengths, areas of expertise, and skills. Include an accomplishment or a unique qualification that you possess. In a combo-functional resume, highlight personal qualifications and transferable skills gained through volunteer activities and past work experiences. Make sure that the rest of your resume fits with your summary of qualifications and objective.
  • Skills/Technical Skills- Use bullets under your summary to highlight specific skills that you possess that are necessary for your desired position. Skills can be grouped into categories such as computer skills, supervisory skills, etc.
  • Professional Experience- This is a chronological listing of your work history over the past 10-15 years, beginning with the most recent. Include each job title and a brief description of your primary responsibilities.
  • Accomplishments- Use bullets to highlight accomplishments such as if you’ve ever improved something, if you’ve increased some sort of output, or if you have reduced complaints, time, etc. Use statistics when applicable to demonstrate what you did, how you did it, and what the result was. These accomplishments will show your skills, your ability to make a difference, and will help you stand out. In a combo-functional resume, highlights of accomplishments are broken into categories such as “Leadership” or “Communication”, etc with much less emphasis on work experience.
  • Education and Professional Development- If your degree is over five years old put it after work history and do not include a date, if your degree is recent you can include it in your summary
  • Optional Categories- include the following categories if they apply to you and fit your objective:
    • Military- include the branch of service, highest rank achieved, any special skills or security clearances and honorable discharge.
    • Licenses/Certifications- list any certifications you may have even if you included these in your summary
    • Languages- if you speak a second language or know American Sign Language, etc list it here stating “fluent in French” or “bilingual, English and Spanish both written and spoken” for example.
    • Volunteer Activities- include activities that require skills related to your job, list your position, the name or type of the organization, the city and the state. Be careful about indicating information that could cause discrimination.
    • Professional Organizations- list any professional organizations in your industry that you belong to.


Resume Do’s and Don’ts

  • Do present your information accurately, don’t lie or exaggerate
  • Do include just enough information to entice employers to learn more, don’t include references until they are requested.
  • Do list most recent (10-15 years) work history first and work backwards, don’t use pronouns, abbreviations, conjunctions, industry jargon, etc.
  • Do emphasize accomplishments using statistics when possible, don’t use first person language (I, me, my) or write your autobiography.
  • Do say more with less-use fragmented sentences, don’t give overly detailed information, make it easy to understand.
  • Do put periods at the end of sentences, don’t use type smaller than 11 point or larger than 12 point.
  • Do have at least two people proofread your resume, don’t use a passive voice or include graphics on your resume.
  • Do stay within a 2 pages limit and use bullets to present information clearly, don’t use tables, italics, underlines, or overuse bolding.


How to Learn More

Attend the “Right” Your Resume workshop at RochesterWorks! In addition to this information, the presenter also provides many sample resumes, additional resources and websites, a summary of qualifications template worksheet, and pages of horn tooting traits/characteristics, action words, and transferrable skills that you can use in your resume. For the workshop calendar and class descriptions please visit:


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